Friends of The Helicopter Museum

Westland Lynx AH.1, G-LYNX / ZB500 helps to illustrate the BBC's
 "A History of The World in 100 Objects".

G-LYNX in record-breaking configuration In January 2010 The Museum's Westland Lynx AH.1, G-LYNX, was chosen to be one of ten contributions from the County of Somerset, for the BBC project "A History of The World".

Originally built by Westland, in Yeovil, as a company demonstrator, G-LYNX, c/n 102, first flew in May 1979. It appeared at Farnborough in 1980 and was later sent to Rolls-Royce for trials before returning to Yeovil.

Westland then decided to use it in an attempt to beat the existing World Speed Record for a Helicopter, then held by a heavily modified Russian Mil Mi-24 'Hind' which had attained a speed of 228.9mph in September 1978. By aiming to better this, Westland was not only looking for prestige but also a useful marketing tool that could be used to boost sales of the Lynx. In 1985 Westland engineer teams set to work upgrading G-LYNX for the attempt. 

New, more powerful 1,200 shp Rolls-Royce Gem 60 engines were added, with an uprated transmission and, to boost the power output of these engines, a water-methanol injection system was introduced. The Lynx was also fitted with a low-set tailplane unit, with twin vertical fins, derived from Westland's WG-30 design, as this reduced the tail rotor load and offered greater directional stability at higher speeds. Newly-designed, composite material, British Experimental Rotor Programme (BERP) blades were installed. The BERP blades featured swept tips which allowed the helicopter to fly at high speed without suffering from the problems of blade stall that had frustrated previous efforts, by rival designs, to set new World Records.

G-LYNX at Finningley in September 1986  
G-LYNX at RAF Finningley on 20th September 1986
Photograph by Derek Heley

In its modified form, G-LYNX took to the air from Yeovil on 11th August 1986 with Westland's Chief Test Pilot, Trevor Egginton, at the controls and Flight Test Engineer Derek Clews alongside. Flying a 9.3 mile course over the Somerset Levels, G-LYNX reached 249.09mph, smashing the 'Hind's' best figure to set up a new Class E (Rotorcraft) Absolute World Speed Record that remains unbroken to this day. The effort brought some much-needed publicity for Westland and led to many of the improvements, which had been made to G-LYNX, being adopted for use on later production Lynx.

G-LYNX was further modified subsequently and used, in 1991, for trial installation of the American LHTEC CTS800 engines for a potential Middle East sale. It was retired in 1992 and, in 1995, was loaned to The Helicopter Museum, in Weston-super-Mare (right), with the understanding that it would eventually be donated to The Museum's collection. In 2003 G-LYNX was one of The Museum's contributions to RIAT's "100 Years of Flight" celebration. On 13th October 2007 G-LYNX was returned to Yeovil for restoration, by the AgustaWestland apprentices, to its 1986 record breaking configuration and colour scheme. It was completed and returned to display at The Helicopter Museum in July 2011.   G-LYNX on display in The Museum
 About "A History of The World"